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Kroger taking over Harris Teeter - what do yo think about this?

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Heard the news this morning. I was hoping the buyer of HT would be Publix or better - at least some store that we did not already have.

Kroger taking over HT is disappointing to me. We have 6 Kroger's and 4 HT's in Durham plus a few more HT's in Chapel Hill. We are going to lose stores and jobs.

I generally find the HT stores to be cleaner and better maintained. The HT VIC card beats the Kroger Plus card by miles and HT has other promotions such as eVIC and Fresh Catch that beat anything at Kroger. I have found lots of good fish at HT using the Fresh Catch specials. I don't even look at the fish at Kroger - am I missing anything?

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  1. I read recently that Kroger and some of its affiliate stores now are carrying Murray's cheeses if that eases your pain at all. They 'took over' Fred Meyer in the PNW and I haven't noticed big changes.

    1. I don't think there's enough info out there to judge yet but I see all your concerns as valid. Maybe this will create the opportunity for Publix to move into this market.

      1. I think the biggest concern will be closure of stores. When Delhaize bough Hannaford, they weren't allowed to have both Food Lion and Hannaford in the same market. Kroger is going to have to pick one brand or the other for markets where they have both - I hope they pick HT, but who knows. I can think of several intersections that already have HT and Kroger on opposite corners, so some of those with surely close or be sold.

        1. Everything I have read indicates that Kroger will keep the HT name, management team, headquarters, store growth plan, etc. I don't think most HT customers will notice any change.

          1 Reply
          1. re: carolinadawg

            Yeah; the local Kroger here in Greenville went out of business a year or so ago and was replaced by an HT, so I expect that HT is perceived to be the stronger brand.

          2. We are in Tucson, AZ part of the year and there is a Kroger subsidiary there called Fry's. From the looks of most of the Fry's there (excluding a brand new store that my wife likes), I prefer Safeway out West and Harris Teeter and Publix over a Fry's clone. Hope they keep HT management. Asheville TV confirmed that they will keep the Harris Teeter store here. Whenever it opens!

            1. My initial reaction was that it stinks and goodbye HT as we know it. But after reading up on Kroger's other additions, it does seem they're sensible enough to let the different brands stay as they were. Hopefully they know not to mess with a successful formula.

              The Triangle seems to be the only area where HT and Kroger markets overlap so there might be store closings, but honestly they are different segments of the market so keeping both could be feasible.

              1. I just received this in an email from Harrist Teeter:

                "Harris Teeter announced that it is merging with Kroger. While a contract has been signed, the merger will not be complete for a few months. We announced in January that we were going through a process of looking at strategic options; this announcement completes that process.

                While details are still being finalized, we can tell you our name will remain Harris Teeter; our own brands will continue to reflect our name; Boar’s Head Brands will be in our Deli and the same high-quality Angus Beef will be sold in our meat departments. We do not anticipate any Associate changes with this merger, so rest assured you should find your favorite meat cutter, cake decorator or cashier at your Harris Teeter. We will continue to be committed to delivering excellent customer service and outstanding quality. You will continue to find fast check-out lanes and friendly Associates when you visit your Harris Teeter store.

                Kroger is the second largest food retailer in the US with sales approaching $100 billion. By joining them, we will become even more efficient in our ability to deliver outstanding value to our customers. In addition, they will provide growth opportunities for our company and our associates."

                Not sure much will change, at least in the near term, according to the news coverage I've seen.

                1. Agree about HT's seafood. It's about the only way to get seafood without spending an arm and a leg in the Triangle. Keeping my fingers crossed that what I've read about Kroger keeping everything about HT intact turns out to be true. Often what happens after acquisition doesn't follow what was said at acquisition. However, I understand HT's need to compete with Walmart. Kroger's huge buying power allows them to compete on price better so it could be a good thing.

                  1. I was glad. I detest Harris Teeter. Kroger has a better selection, a wider array of items, sells better bakeware and carries more ethnic and organic and gluten free items. The only complaint that I can really see as being valid is the coupon strategy. But from what I've heard, there isn't really going to be much change except for the business that gets the money. I didn't see anything about closings.

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                      Wow that is exacty the opposite impression of every HT shopper I know (including myself).

                      We don't have Kroger here in Charlotte but I shop at them when I travel. They almost seem to have no store standard. Some are dirty, poorly stocked, miserable stores. Some are decent. But I don't know if I've been in one that compares to any average HT. That's one reason I like HT, they have high standards for every store.

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                        I'm also kind of amazed at your opinion, but each store is certainly different and your comparison is not my experience. In your immediate area, you might have a weak HT and a good Kroger.

                        My difficulty with HT is how high the prices are. The meat and produce prices are ridiculous.

                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                          I loved the HT in Charlottesville, VA. And now I live in Chapel Hill and feel like they have no standards at all (and yet I shop at them weekly because I'm not going to go to Krogers or Food Lion because I find them even worse). The produce at HT here is often rotting, often past its date. Sometimes even a package of chicken is on the shelf past its sell-by date. And when I mention these things the very friendly people who work there (really, I like them a lot, which is probably why I still go) just kind of say "oh well!" We need another option very much.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            LulusMom, I'm now convinced that the individual stores must vary quite a bit. My local HT always has perfectly pretty produce, and it's dislpayed like a jewelry store.

                            1. re: Terrie H.

                              Exactly. That is how it was in Charlottesville too. There they were known for having perfect produce. I was stunned when I started finding rotting stuff in the stores here in Chapel Hill. I have written and complained twice, kind of gave up on making any difference.

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                How odd, the produce here in Raleigh is always in good condition. The manager will even special order produce for me when I need an unusual item.

                              2. re: Terrie H.

                                I happened to go to a different HT yesterday; Lulu was at a morning birthday party and I took the chance to do my weekly shopping. Man, it was a HUGE difference from what I experience in Chapel Hill. I was in Durham at the MLK store, and Terrie H is so right - the produce looked gem-like. Everything *seemed* to be much fresher (the proof will be in the pudding, I guess). The selection of international items was much bigger than I'm used to (pomegranate molasses? Aero bars?!) and it was the friendliest, most helpful grocery store I've ever been in. I may start driving the extra 15 minutes each way just to go there!

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  When we were house hunting 2001, I insisted we only search real estate listings 10 minutes or less from this store. When it was first built in the late 90s, it was really a thing to behold. There were no other grocery stores in the area that came close in terms of selection, ambiance, etc. Because of the huge windows above the vestibule in front, my friends and I called it the Taj Mateeter, then just The Taj for short. I'm still glad to have it as my neighborhood grocery store.

                                  1. re: durhamois

                                    We call the HT at the end of Chapel Hill's MLK the Taj McTeeter. Is that the one you're talking about? It is huge, but the MLK Durham (which I'm guessing is the one you mean) is just amazing - it didn't seem bigger but it seemed so much more interestingly stocked and everyone was incredibly friendly and helpful. I seriously might start doing my shopping there.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      It must be a Durham/CH "thing." My Durham cousins call their HT the same.

                                      1. re: rockycat

                                        Every city has a taj-mateeter...Friendly Center in Greensboro, across the street from Southpark Mall in Charlotte, etc. That latter one really is amazing.

                                        1. re: rockycat

                                          Funny. Must be. Which HT do your Durham cousins use?

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            I don't know Durham neighborhoods all that well, but they live near Club Blvd. and Duke St., not all that far from Northgate Mall.

                                            1. re: rockycat

                                              That would be pretty far from the HT I'm talking about. Sounds like Durham has the better HTs than Chapel Hill.

                                              1. re: rockycat

                                                They're about to get a brand new on on Ninth Street. It looks to be enormous.

                                                1. re: durhamois

                                                  I noticed that last night (we ate at Vin Rouge). It looked like it might already be open.

                                        2. re: durhamois

                                          So, where's the Raleigh Taj McTeeter? Don't see much difference between any of them in N. Raleigh - exc for the 2 story one in North Hills which is mostly empty and doesn't seem to carry better products.

                                          1. re: TerryG

                                            I could be wrong as I haven't visited every HT in Raleigh but I'd bet money that our Raleigh area "Taj McTeeter" is actually the one located in Cary on Kildaire Farm Road and Tryon Road. It's been around for a while but it is certainly enormous and stunning.

                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                      I'd go to food lion way before I'd go to HT because the prices for the same items are so much better. Actually HT (and Kroger) is the LAST place I'd go for anything (WF not withstanding) and since HT and Kroger prices are pretty much the same.. it comes down to what I'm looking for. Maybe I just need to look into the coupons they offer and when the triples and doubles and double doubles and triple doubles and other basketball type terms come into play.

                                  2. I love HT and if it changes I will be quite upset. I've never been to a Kroger, but I particularly like that it is always clean, the employees are incredibly helpful, the member deals are great and the store brand products have always been quite reliable.

                                    1. Sorry to hear that. Having lived in Charlotte for 10 years, we really liked HT - thought it was right up there with Publix and Hannifords.

                                      As for Kroger, we found them to be bottom of the barrel - comparable with Food Lion.

                                      1. Apparently the HT that was just built off of 9th Street in Durham is gorgeous.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                          After coming on here to rave about the MLK Durham one and say how bad the U Mall one is, now the U Mall one is finally getting it together. It is still a work in progress but I found roasted pumpkin seed oil (which I've been looking for for a while) and HP sauce. And the seafood counter is much nicer looking and has many more options.

                                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                            It is pretty damn nice. Definitely on the level of the MLK one.

                                            1. re: HitBullWinSteak

                                              MLK in Durham or MLK (formerly Airport Road) in Chapel Hill?

                                              1. re: boaviagem

                                                MLK in Durham... I haven't been to the one in Chapel Hill

                                            2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                              Oh cool, it opened yesterday.

                                            3. I shop at both HT and Kroger in Raleigh on a regular basis, but the day before Thanksgiving I was in Kroger looking at the wine selection (shocker) and the Kendall Jackson was featured in its own display setting without pricing. So I ask the wine guy how much the KJ is and he was like "oh I was just repricing it and showed me a price sticker for $13.49, I think. So I say to him, "Harris Teeter has it on special for $9.99; do you price-match?"

                                              NO WE DO NOT PRICE MATCH! Came the angry reply and then this doofus went on an on about how Kroger was superior to HT and it was HT's own fault they had to be bought out because of stupid pricing decisions like Kendall Jackson on eVic for $9.99.

                                              Needless to say, even if I had not wanted to deal with going to another grocery store on the day before Thanksgiving, with that piss-poor attitude, I took myself to HT at that point.

                                              Not only was I shocked at this unnecessary angry/superior response, but it was actually the second time a Kroger employee has made a snide remark to me about the acquisition of HT since the news came through (the first lady's response was not as bad as the wine guy's).

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Tehama

                                                Having shopped in a Kroger in TN last week and the new HT in Asheville last night, I must say that HT beats Kroger's ass.

                                                1. re: Tehama

                                                  That is not behavior any employer would want, and you definitely would not experince that at a HT. Either he is ignorant or hugely uninformed about HT's position pre-buyout.

                                                  I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm actually looking forward to Publix replacing Bi-Lo here. It will be good competition since Bi-Lo seemed like they lost all interest in operating their stores here. Within a 2 mile radius I will have HT, Publix, Food Lion, Aldi, Earth Fare, Fresh Market, and Trader Joes ( a little farther). So that means Food Lion needs to step it up!